Novels about model trains destroying the world
February 18, 2013 6:00 PM   Subscribe

A friend has bet me that there are no novels in which model trains or model railway enthusiasts are portrayed as villains or otherwise threaten humanity. Is this true?

I know this is a hard call, but if anyone can do it, it's you guys! And you were so awesome with your book recommendations in my last question. (I am LOVING Connie Willis).
posted by lollusc to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
No, it is not true. One of the villains in Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff is a model train enthusiast, works at a model train store, and builds surreal bombs which he plans to use to kill a bunch of children just to show he's evil.
posted by bswinburn at 6:12 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

Since you've got a novel, I'll throw in a short story as a bonus: Philip K. Dick's "Small Town".
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:17 PM on February 18, 2013

Well, perhaps not exactly what you're looking for, but there is this . . . .
posted by flug at 6:21 PM on February 18, 2013

Check stories featuring the Superman villain The Toyman and the Batman version who used remote controlled toys in the episode with The Grey Ghost.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:23 PM on February 18, 2013

John and Anthony in For Better or For Worse are clearly evil.
posted by asperity at 6:24 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

Frank, in Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle, is a model train enthusiast who plays a pivotal role in the destruction of the world. He's not exactly evil, though.
posted by DarkForest at 6:47 PM on February 18, 2013

The dodgy owners of a model village, including railway, plot to steal the Borrower family that has moved into Mr. Pott's competing model village in The Borrowers Aloft.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:52 PM on February 18, 2013

Lex Luthor in Superman Returns (if novelized adaptations of movies count towards your question). Here is a clip from the movie.
posted by 1367 at 7:03 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sopranos' Bobby Baccalieri gets whacked in a model train shop. He had a sweet setup at home.
posted by maggieb at 7:04 PM on February 18, 2013

It's not a novel, but in the Canadian television show Trailer Park Boys the protagonists steal a model train & railroad from Patrick Swayze and use it to transport drugs over the border.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:08 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

You guys are AMAZING. Since he specified "novel", I am best-answering those (plus the short story, because I count that as close enough.)

I'm going to start tracking down copies of all of those now and mail them to him in a big parcel.
posted by lollusc at 7:20 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not a novel, but a classic. And again more recently.
posted by ecorrocio at 7:42 PM on February 18, 2013

Also not a novel, but seen on the blue: every Michael Bay movie is a story about a model train enthusiast threatening humanity.
posted by Phssthpok at 8:17 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Glad someone else has read the weird and enjoyable Bad Monkeys! I also wanted to add the big WELL DUH for most-published evil train: Blaine the Mono in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. If that isn't an evil choo-choo, I don't know what is. (Arguably, Blaine is larger than HO scale but from the text he seems to be of the scale kids would ride in a park i.e. not a full-size train).
posted by whatzit at 3:17 AM on February 19, 2013

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